The best job leads are likely to come from your network of connections; however, asking them for help can seem daunting. We often procrastinate about informing our network because it can be a bit awkward. Below are some ideas of how to talk with your contacts.
1. Know what you are looking for- Job seekers are often unclear about the job they are seeking. As an example, I received an email that read “Please think of me when you see an opening.” I had no clue of the work the individual was seeking, what location(s) he desired, or the organization(s) the person had in mind. The job seeker may have known all the answers to these questions but because it wasn’t clear to me, so I wasn’t able to help him.
2. Make it easy for your network– Don’t make your contacts guess, be clear in what you are seeking. Make a list of the titles you are interested in, your preferred organizations, and what location(s) you are willing to work in. You may also include a few of your accomplishments. Your network may not know of any current openings, but they may be able to introduce to people in your preferred organizations.
3. Write a simple email- One of the easiest ways to connect with your contacts is through a simple email. I recommend that that you personalize the beginning paragraph to each individual. The next paragraph can be devoted to explaining your situation and asking for help. An example is:
I am looking for a position in sales. I have recently received an award for being the top sales person at my company and would like to expand my role into management. My company currently does have a management position available, so I am looking at other options. I am keeping this job search confidential at this point but if you know of anyone at these organizations (include a list of preferred organizations) I would welcome an introduction. I am seeking a role in inside sales at the manager level or above. I prefer to stay in the Treasure Valley area but I am open to travel. I appreciate your help. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
Contacting your network may be a bit awkward at first, but in the end, it could pay off with big rewards. Time and time again, I talk with people who have received a job offer directly as a result of a referral or an introduction. If you have been procrastinating on informing your network, I invite you to spend a few minutes to get the word out. It may be the most important email of your job search.